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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

So ends June

So I returned quite late Sunday night with the rest of the family who spent the weekend at a relative celebrating a cousins 24th birthday.

The garden greeted me with a few more mangetout peas and a few signs of progress but no major catastrophes.

The weather remains dry though my neighbour said we had a particularly good rain shower Sunday morning, although to look at the soil its kind of hard to believe.

The tomato side shoots I put to root in water a week or so back have started to root, so I’ll need to pot them up soon.

Well to tell the honest truth I’m still trying to get my energy levels up after the late nights over the weekend, so outside of watering and removing side shoots from the tomato plants not much has been done over the last two days.

PS I have also updated my savings for June month for those following this post.

Here's a couple photos of what greeted me on my return:

The wild yarrow has begun to flower.

In the mini meadow area the most successful flower has been the corncockles which are now in flower.

The chamomile plants that were sent to me as rooted cuttings last autumn by a generous A4A member have begun to flower, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they were a double petal variety.

My hollyhocks have been disappointingly lacking in height and in blossoms, but this dark variety greeted me on my return.

Another plant to disappoint height wise this year has also started flowering - the evening primroses.

The purple podded french beans have started flowering.

As well as the borlotto beans.

And while out with my daughters we spied our first monarch butterfly of the year.

The ying yang beans which started flowering a couple weeks ago now have young pods forming. I'm growing these with the outdoor tomatoes under a semi cover for harvesting the mature dry beans in the autumn.

Runner beans beginning to grow pods as well.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Catching Up - 22nd to 28th of June

Well what a week......

With all the hot weather there was a lot of watering to do both in the greenhouse and out on the vege beds, which is paying off as the mangetout has begun to flower again.

I have noticed that my brassicus that I lovingly got to this stage is slowly being decimated by white fly. I have never had an infestation like this so early in the year before, and I wonder if the plants simply became too stressed from lack of water or if the garden wasn't kept clean enough (my over wintered 'early purple sprouting broccoli' which normally gets white fly at the and of its life was left standing the ground at least a month later that normal for me) so I am wondering if I caused this infestation by being lapse with plot hygiene :(

I also spent the week generally preparing the garden for my absence from the Friday to Sunday. I was asked by my friend who is pregnant to accompany her and her husband as her second birth partner.

So here are a few pictures taken over the week.

Just as it was getting dark my mum spotted hedge here wandering through the side gate from the back into the front garden, he raced back through and I got this picture before leaving him alone to continue his forage for food.

The elusive greenwood pecker is a notoriously shy bird and though there is a resident pair in the area I have only ever gotten a shot of them through the upstairs window in my neighbours garden, which explains the blurry shot of this female.

Another through the window shot of one of the neighbourhood's foxes sunning itself in the garden two doors down.

One of the froglets relaxing on an oxygenating plant.

A fully open scabosia.

A calendula flower which I use in salads or to colour rice yellow. I also make an infused oil which I then use in some of the ointments I make.

Jasmine flowers in bud.

Fennel flowers in bud.

Not sure if these are regular honey bees or solitary bees but there are a lot visiting the garden and all the flowers.

Ladybug larva on a 'Love in the Mist Flower'.
A harlequin ladybug in one of its many guises.

Came across this odd looking bug while watering the sweetcorn and thankfully I chose to catch and id instead of kill on site as I originally thought it was a mealybug or a weird albino ladybug larva. Found out its called a Mealybug destroyer larva and so its a good guy eating not only mealybugs but also other aphids. I moved it onto one of the chili plants in the greenhouse and in doing so accidentally rubbed off some of its white fluff.

This is one of the bug homes I made last year for solitary wasps, etc. If you look closely you'll see a spider entering one of the holes.

Now for the pictures I know you lot are really waiting for........
but first saw four parachuters (only caught two in the shot) from the labour room window during the early stages.

Her other half doing whatever she decrees ;) almost there.....

Welcome their new baby girl 00:32 28/06/09.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Catching Up - 15th to 21st of June

This week was spent filling in gaps with a few late sown sweetcorn seeds, removing side shoots from the tomato plants and tied them to their supports. I also put the larger of the side shoots to root in water as I would like to grow these on in large pots which I plan to bring inside the greenhouse to extend the tomato season, dare I say "home grown tomatoes for Christmas".

A fair amount of weeding was also done and I have also conceded and have started to water the crops that seem to need it to produce fruits every other day, such as the mangetout which seems to be finished after three large harvest, which is weired for me, as I normally get at least 6 - 8 crops which normally takes me into the 1st week of July. So I watered them well over the weekend but thus far no new flowers as yet, the plants still look very health so I'm hoping they will perform.

The ladybug larva are growing nicely on the aphids which are on the greenhouse plants, the aphid numbers are reducing.

There are still the odd painted lady butterfly to be seen.

The mini beast hotel I built last autumn was starting to look a little dilapidated with the tiers beginning to sag, so I repaired it and doesn't it look smart.

Hi there, you are welcome anytime in my greenhouse, just remember to earn your keep and eat only the baddies.

Adalia 10-punctata - 10 Spot Ladybird.

This is the second one I have seen of these 'Volucella zonaria - UK's largest hoverfly'. They are almost the same size of a hornet but are fatter around the middle and with much bigger eyes.

Just your regular fly but doesn't it look pretty.

Saw this growing as a little seedling last year near one of my vege beds and simply assumed it was a St john's Wort plant as there used to be a clump growing in that very area five plus years ago when we inherited the garden and so I moved it to my flower beds but with its lovely red tipped flower buds as well as its general appearance now I believe its a 'Hypericum Pulchrum - Slender St John Wort' which is in the same family as St John's Wort.

Borage in bloom.

Opium poppy art.

Carrot flowers beginning to open their blossoms

A ornamental allium that produces bulbils at the top of its stem instead of a flower, inherited them with the garden and they are everywhere.
Another white clover its so pretty.
The kids morning glories have begun to bloom.
Another inherited plant, I think its a type of arum lily.

The first open runner bean flower.

The garlic will be ready to be harvested soon, I'm just waiting for the leaves to start dieing back.

First strawberries, of which the kids scoffed the lot.

The house sparrow population has grown in the last few weeks with young ones joining the ranks. They are certainly welcomed as the love spending time in the vege garden eating the baddies.

The fox cubs are still about leaving me all sort of smelly packages but this one seen outside the kitchen window looked rather sorry as it had a very bad case of mange and was quite emaciated. I don't think it will survive the next winter.

I was not thinking or I would have recorded this as a video the noise these crows were making and their attacking antics aimed at the cat was quite entertaining, my daughter said she saw a young crow escape into the oak tree (which is on the left just out off the camera's shot) just as the adults began their attack. It lasted about five minutes before the cat slunked off.

Their are now tons of little froglets in the vege mini pond but some are still yet to lose their tails.


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